Tips

Hand Painted Crankbaits

One of the latest crazes in bass fishing is homemade and custom painted lures. I recently picked up a couple from KMW Lures. KMW offers many different options; from topwater, jerkbaits, and crankbaits in specialized and novelty colors. I was amazed at the detail on these lures.

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Crankbaits are known for not running true out of the package. Some cheap lures will run to one side and must be tuned in order to run straight. There was no reason to tune these baits, they ran true out of the package. They also come with 2x Eagle Claw hooks

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I got two different lure types and color schemes to try. One was the KMW Green Pumpkin Craw squarebill. The other was a KMW Natural Shad jerkbait. The first place I tried the KMW Green Pumpkin Craw squarebill was in my pond. The bass sure seem to like this color as well as I do. They were absolutely swallowing the bait. I can’t wait to hit the lake and try them.

If you want to upgrade some of your tackle and fish with a lure that the bass have not seen before, I think it is worth your investment to try a couple of hand painted lures. I know I was not disappointed with these KMW Lures.

Recipes

Lake to Plate

There is nothing quite like fresh walleye or sauger. I caught a big sauger on Saturday and we cooked it on Sunday. I really wanted to cook it on the grill since it was 60 degrees outside. Unfortunately, when I caught the fish the weather was much worse. It was 35 degrees, but the fish didn’t seem to mind.

I tried a new style of cooking fish. I have cooked fish on the grill many times, but never  in an aluminum foil packet. I also cooked sliced potatoes the same way.

I started out by patting the filets dry. Then, I drizzled lemon juice over the entire fish. Next, I sprinkled many different seasonings on the filets including, salt, pepper, Lowry’s, Old Bay, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder. I topped the fish with butter and wrapped it up in the foil.

The potato packs were seasoned with salt, pepper, and Lowry’s. I added two slices of bacon for some extra flavor. If you haven’t tried using bacon on potatoes this way, I highly recommend it!

I cooked the potato packs for about a half hour on the grill, flipping about every 10 minutes. The fish took about 15 minutes total, flipping once. Don’t be afraid to take a peek in the packets when grilling this way. You would hate to open it and have them a little too crispy!

This recipe took about 10 minutes to prepare and about 30 minutes to cook. Most of the time was dedicated to peeling and slicing the potatoes. The fish took 3 minutes to prepare. I was surprised how evenly the sauger cooked in the packet. The packet also held the fish together, and it did not fall apart when flipping. We will be cooking fish again this way in the future


 

Tips

An App Every Fisherman Needs

I enjoy fishing new bodies of water. I like the challenge of catching fish on a lake that I have never seen. One tool that I use to catch more fish is the Navionics app. This app shows you the contours of the lake, fishing spots, boat ramps, marinas, and the weather among other features. I think it is a wise investment for fishermen and boaters.

The app will cost you $9.99, same as the cost of a new lure. I use this to study lakes before going fishing to identify productive fishing spots. I was surprised how many lake are listed. I was also pleasantly surprised to see all of the very small local lakes are on here too.

It is also very helpful if you do not have a fish finder with a mapping card built in. Simply pull your phone out and see exactly where you are on the lake. It plots your current location while using the app. I know ice fishermen who use this and love it because of this reason alone. They can walk exactly to the spot they want to fish, drill a hole, and start catching fish.

I also like this app because it shows you boat ramp locations and marinas. This is very helpful when driving to a lake that you are unfamiliar with. You can quickly see the ramp locations on the lake and plan your route. It also makes navigating the lake much safer because you can locate the shallow areas before you launch your boat.

If you love to fish or just want to be a safer boater, I would recommend downloading the Navionics app. I know it has helped me.

Fishing Trips · Tips

Early Spring Fishing

Early spring fishing can be some of the best trips of the year. I recently fished a small local lake that typically has a ton of people fishing it. To my delight, I had the entire place to myself. The fishing at this lake was much better than normal, mainly due to the lack of fishing pressure.

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The water temperature was in the high 40’s, which was much warmer than I had anticipated. I found the bass in 3-4 foot of water, but close to deeper water. This is a standard place to look for bass in late winter and early spring. Bass like to move up and down the water column looking for the warmest water at this time of year. I caught the bass on a Rapala Shad Rap and a Berkley Flicker Shad.

The crappies and trout were located on a flat in about 3-5 foot of water. Both species seemed to be close to stumps and brush piles. This is a very common place to find crappies this time of year. Crappies will spawn in water temperatures between 50-60 degrees. These fish were already thinking about spawning. I caught the crappies and trout on a float and hair jig tipped with Berkley Gulp.

If you are willing to put on some extra layers of clothes and battle the cold, then I think you may be surprised how successful you might be. I was able to catch some nice bass, crappie, and trout on this trip. 

 

Fishing Trips · Tips

Muddy Water

My first kayak trip this year was met with some very muddy water. We have had record level floods, which made the lake look more like chocolate milk than water!

I fished a small lake at winter pool. You couldn’t launch a boat in the lake because the only boat ramp is still on dry ground.

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In muddy cold water, I like to use bright lures that make a lot of vibration so the fish can find the bait. I used a Berkley Flicker Shad on this trip. This crankbait has a tight wobbling action that I like. It also has rattles, so the fish can hear the bait coming through the water.

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I only managed a few bites on this trip, but with the water conditions the way they were I was very happy with that. If all the fish I catch are this big, I will have a great year!

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Tips

Spring Tackle Purchase

I recently spent a few dollars at Bass Pro Shops.  These are the baits and tackle that I will be using very soon.

I bought some new Sufix Performance Braid line for crappie fishing. I have heard good things about this line, so I thought I would give it a try. Braided line helps throw and skip light weight baits a long distance. It also has great sensitivity for feeling the fish bight. I also bought some weedless Nail Head Jigs. I started using these a couple of years ago, and really like them. They work great around wood cover and docks.

Swim baits are great in clear water. I like the Bass Pro Squirmin Shad and the Bass Pro Speed Shad. This time of the year the water can be very clear and these baits mimic a real bait fish almost identically. Swim baits can be used in both shallow and deep water depending on the weight of the jig head. I also like swim baits this time of year because they can be worked very slowly. The bass will be very lethargic right now, and you typically need a very slow presentation to entice the strike.

With the warm weather fast approaching, it’s just a matter of time before these baits start catching fish.

Hunting

After Deer Season Is Over

January comes around and deer season is over. Well, not exactly. This is a great time to scout your woods for next year.

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I like to get in the woods right after season. I look for trails that the deer have recently been traveling. If you wait a few more months when the weather warms, the deers travel pattern may change some. Scouting now gives you real time data that can be used again next year. One thing that I have learned over the years of hunting and scouting is, deer will change their travel patterns often.

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Also, I like to keep an eye out for scrapes and rubs. You can usually find an area of the woods that has been worked over harder by bucks than other areas. Finding these could be key to having success next fall. You may find a big bucks home area where he spends the majority of his time during season.

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Just because you can’t go hunting for deer January, doesn’t mean you can’t get into the woods. Go scouting and you may be surprised by what you find. You may even find an early shed antler. I am sure it will make you a more successful hunter next season.